Earlier this month, we wrote about a growing effort to control the pet population in Bay County. We are saddened to follow so quickly with a much more upsetting post about the potential for dangerous interactions between people and pets. The team at The Pittman Firm is filled with animal lovers. We know that animals can be wonderful companions and become true members of the family. We also know that pets can cause serious injury, and we are prepared to serve as a law firm for Panama City dog bite victims.
The News Herald and WJHG are both reporting on a vicious dog attack that occurred in the boarding area of the Parkway Animal Hospital on the evening of July 19. Laura Miller, a 33-year-old Panama City resident, was cleaning pens when a mixed-breed poodle slipped through a gate and into the pen of a pit bull weighing nearly one hundred pounds.
Workers said the pit bull had been boarding for three weeks and had previously been very friendly, often rolling over for belly rubs from staff members. However, when Miller attempted to remove the poodle, the pit bull attacked. Co-workers responded to Miller's call for help and found the animal had clamped its jaws around her armpit area and was shaking her violently. The workers hit and kicked the animal until he released Miller and they then locked the dog back in his cage.
Emergency medical workers responded and found that Miller had lost a significant amount of blood due to multiple bites to her neck, arms, and upper torso. They deemed the injuries life-threatening and transported her to Bay Medical Center. Doctors operated, amputating Miller's arm at her shoulder. As of the middle of this week, Miller remained at the hospital but was in stable condition.
Per policy, Animal Control officers took the dog to Bay County Animal Shelter where they will observe it for ten days for signs of rabies. Together, Animal Control and the Sheriff's Office will then determine if the animal should be deemed dangerous. If they decide the dog is dangerous, the owner will be allowed to decide if he or she will keep the animal. Dogs that are deemed dangerous must be kept in a secure enclosure and must be muzzled and put on a secure chain or leash any time it goes outside. Animal Control would also check-in annually. An owner of a dangerous animal must also notify Animal Control if the animal is moved to another state or another county. The office would then contact its counterpart in the new area. If the dog bites a second person, it would be euthanized.
The Bay County Sheriff's has declined to file criminal charges related to the attack. However, as we have noted before, the civil and criminal courts are separate. A civil suit can often be appropriate even when no criminal case is brought. With limited exceptions, Florida imposes strict liability on dog owners in dog bite cases. This means the owner is liable for an injury caused by their pet. This is true regardless of whether the dog has shown prior violent tendencies.
If you have been injured by a dog bite in Panama City, please call for a free consultation. A civil claim can provide a victim with vital compensation. Remember, there is no conflict between loving animals and seeking damages after a serious injury.